Welsh precision engineering and fabrication specialist Afon Engineering is benefitting from noticeably cleaner air following a project with Filtermist Systems.
The company invited Filtermist to visit its Swansea facility and carry out an initial assessment of the air quality around the door area of five machines post machining cycle. Filtermist’s Paul Watkins who visited Afon to take indicative readings using a Direct Reading Aerosol Monitor takes up the story, “The DustTrak particle counters that we use showed that the amount of particles smaller than 10 micron in size at all of the test points was in excess of 1mg/m3 which is the benchmark many companies use as a maximum work exposure limit. Two of the machines showed particularly high readings when the machine doors were opened, so it was important that Afon took steps to address this issue.”
The previous time weighted average exposure limit of 5mg/m3 for oil mist was removed by the HSE in 2005 following an outbreak of respiratory disease at an automotive plant with levels beneath the limit – the current guidance under COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations is that all employers must reduce levels of particulate in the air to ‘As Low As Reasonably Practical’. In most cases this means installing effective local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to capture contaminated air at source before it has a chance to escape into the working environment.
Most oil mist particles, which can cause a range of respiratory diseases and skin conditions if left in the atmosphere, are between 1 and 10 micron in size – similar to a bacteria particle and not visible to the human eye.
“The type and model of oil mist filter that we recommend varies depending on the machine it’s being fitted to and the nature of the application,” continues Paul. “In this instance we recommended that Afon installed an S800, an FX5002 and four FX7002 units – all supplied with afterfilters and F Monitors to enable the machine operators to instantly see if the extraction equipment needs attention.”
Filtermist’s installation engineers undertook the installs during the summer and Paul recently visited Afon again to take comparative particle load measurements. “The most recent measurements were significantly lower than the first set of readings I took,” he confirms. “Most importantly, all of the readings now show that there is less than 1mg/m3 of sub 10-micron particulate in the air at all of the test points. In fact, three of the readings showed a reduction of 90% or more!”
Steve Bechelet, Afon’s Workshop Manager, comments, “We were very impressed with the Filtermist team. From the initial visit to the completion of the installation, the service was incredibly professional, and we are very happy with the results. The air is noticeably cleaner around the five CNC machines and we would have no qualms about recommending Filtermist to other manufacturers looking to remove oil mist from the air in their production facilities.”
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